Skip to main content

tv   Real Money With Ali Velshi  Al Jazeera  October 30, 2014 5:00am-6:01am EDT

5:00 am
>> funding terrorism. where does the money come from? who can america trust? i'm in washington with a man in charge of destroying terrorist organizations without firing a single shot. we'll lay waste to the rumors and follow where the money leads. this is "real money with ali velshi." tonight i'm in washington for a special show focusing on the role that money is playing in america's newest war in the middle east. the fight against the islamic state of iraq and the lavan or isil. they are the sunni muslim
5:01 am
insurgents who grabbed territory in iraq and syria, wreaking havoc in both countries. president obama has vowed to degrade isil, and in six weeks of fighting isil has sized almost half the town within eye shot of turkish troops from their side of the border. in a new development turkey opened up it's territory to 150 kurdish peshmerga fighters who began crossing into kobane with heavy weapons. they're being joined by 50 arab fighters from the free syrian army, the rebel group
5:02 am
. while media attention is on kobane, forces continue to make gains hundreds of miles of iraq. what makes isil so successful is a question that many are asking. it has a bureaucracy that regulates trade and revenue in the territories its conquer. that poise as daunting challenge for the obama administration. >> it's a principal that sets isil apart from other armed militant groups. a void outside funding. >> it's been very resistant to receiving
5:03 am
funding from foreign patrons by the states or private dinars, partly because it does not want to seed autonomy. >> reporter: a strategy patrick johnson said shields isil from targeted movement against illicit programs. it's biggest money spinner, oil siphoned from storage facilities and pipelines. >> isil makes between $1 million to $3 million a day from oil trade alone. >> they the most heavily trafficked is turkey. says the council on foreign
5:04 am
relations stephen cook. >> essentially this oil is being laundered. by the time it crosses the border into turkey or sold in turkey, it does not look like this oil has come from isis. >> and they must consider a potential for armed militants to take action on turkish soil. a patricia sabga, al jazeera. >> earlier today i sat down with the obama administration's point man david cohen at the department of the treasury. he's often described as a financial batman going after the money of groups in countries that the united states with targets with sanctions. his group with an one-man shot from the time of the
5:05 am
9/11 attacks to a 700 member force, today, cohen told me not to confuse isil's remarkable fundraising abilities with financial strength. listen to what he said. >> i think the point is not to confuse funding with financial strength. for a terrorist organization, really, like any organization, what matters is not just the revenue side but the expense side. isil's expenses, if it's going to try to governor and exercise control over the swath of territory where it is currently operating, which includes not just a bunch of open territory but a number of relatively sizable cities and towns, that costs a lot of money. it costs money to deliver services, to pay their fighters. they have substantial expenses. just by way of comparison, if you'll look at what the iraqi government had budgeted this year for the provinces where
5:06 am
isil is currently operating for the delivery of social services, it was well over $2 billion. and so however well funded isil is, and they're well funded, that pale,s in comparison to what the iraqi government was spending. we don't expect isil will be spending money on that magnitude, but still it drives home the point that their ambition to governor, to be a state is going fall short because they can't possibly have the resources to deliver. >> and ultimately things like keeping the lights on and the water running are the issues. you're well-known for really crafting the sanctions against iran, which in many cases centered around their use of the swift system, and any of our viewers who have moved money around the world are familiar with the swift system, it's the
5:07 am
system that allows people to do business. iran is a member of the world community, and they're easier to target. isil is still running well, they call themselves a state they're running below the radar on this one. are you hoping they'll get big enough that they have to use these international systems and then you can really clamp down? >> no, hardly. we have financial tools that we adapt to the situation where we're called upon to try to create an effect. you're right, in the iranian situation, iran was integrated into the world economy and financial system that we were able to target. one of the things that we're very focused on with isil is making sure that they do not get access to the international financial system. we're concerned in the territory where they're currently operating there are a number of bank branches, and we're working
5:08 am
with the iraqi government, and working with current parts around the world, they don't become entry points for isil in their banking system. >> what can you deny them? that's the issue. at this point you're trying to figure out where this oil comes from and stop the buyers. what else can you deny them if they're not part of the system? again, back to the iranian example they ran factories. they needed parts. they sold oil. they needed the dollars. what does ill need that the world can deny it? >> well, isil needs funding. denying isil of its funding. that means the oil smuggling, figuring out who those people are who are ultimately purchasing this oil, and cutting off the transactions that way. it means denying isil
5:09 am
they're very much focused on working with our partners in the gulf ensuring what they're getting is stopped, and it does not turn into a more lucrative source of isil. we're focused on denying isil ransom payments. one of the ways they've been funding themselves is through taking innocent civilians hostage, ransoming these people for their freedom. they have taken over $20 million this year in ransoms. so we're working to insure that they no longer have access to ransom payments. so there are--and then the final piece of this is the extortion networks in iraq, where they're forcing people to pay up. the way really--the best way to counter act that is not with treasury tools, but tools with our counterparts in the iraqi
5:10 am
security forces, in the coalition military to push back isil from the territory where they're currently operating, and that will deprive them the ability to extort funds. >> well, coming up turkey's complicated role in the battle against isil we'll take a hard look at nato's only muslim majority member that so far refused to commit troops to fight isil. you'll hear what david cohen has to say, the isil smuggling across the border, well, it's a problem. >> the issue here is that isil has inherited long-standing smuggling groups that have been there for centuries. >> you're watching "real money." tweet by @ali velshi. or hit me up at facebook.co facebook.com/ali velshi. we'll be back with more.
5:11 am
>> a brutal drug war >> this here were the remains of 31 people that were found... >> thousands disappearing >> the cost of kidnapping and killing a human being is almost zero >> fault lines, al jazeera america's hard hitting... >> today they will be arrested... >> ground breaking... they're firing canisters of gas at us... emmy award winning investigative series... new episode the disappeared only on al jazeera america
5:12 am
>> i want to talk now about one of the key players in the battle against isil. turkey. it's a country whose position in the conflict is complicated by both it's history and it's geography. take a look. turkey sits right breen the east and the west occupying parts of both europe and asia, and if
5:13 am
shares a 565-mile border with syria and iraq to the south. back in 1987 turkey applied for full membership in the european union but last year europe's finance minister said that turkey is not part of europe. the e.u.'s rejection of turkey is one reason why turkey's president erdogan has looked to the middle east as an islamic power. a member of nato since 1952 turkey is the only muslim-majority nation to be in the organization, and has the second largest standing military force in nato after the united states. but turkey is also surrounded by long-simmering conflicts and hostile neighbors. to the sows turkey, once a solid ally of israel, has been sending money to the gas state funded strip since 2008. the palestinian enclave
5:14 am
controlled by hamas considered a terrorist group by turkey and the united states. turkey provides $300 million in annual aid. that support came to a head in 2010 when the turkish sponsor sponsored gaza freedom flotilla was intercepted and boarded by israeli military. that left some dead. >> that's not to suggest that all turks are supporters of hamas, but they've been able to an i li apply that support . >> a smugglers layoffen for centuries, now turkey's neighbors, syria and iraq, are swept up in violence and turmoil. president erdogan was once a close ally of syria's president bashar al-assad.
5:15 am
but he broke with damascus after syria's bloody assault on citizen protesters back in 2011. since then turkey has purposely let militants including many turks cross its border into syria to fight against the assad regime. according to the british newspaper the guardian, turkey has allowed saudi arabia and qatar to ship hundreds of tons of light weapons to aid the anti-assad rebels. over time many armed militants have joined the islamic take of islamic state in iraq and the levant or isil. isil forces swept across northern syria and northern and western iraq. capturing iraq's second largest city mosul in june. critics charge that turkey chose to overlook the black market oil smuggled into turkey from isil-held territory.
5:16 am
by some estimates black market oil sums isil $2 million a day in revenue. >> if oil is being smuggled, maybe some turkish people benefit that, and that's not a great threat to turkey. but turkey's view of the islamic state is slightly ambivalent. they are determined to see the end of bashar al-assad, and they don't, in looking at syria, see many players there who are likely to achieve that goal. >> one of turkey's most complicated relationships is with iraq's kurds. who have an autonomy in northern iraq. turkey fought a three-decade-long insurgency on its own territory which took the lives of 30,000 people. but over the past few years turkey has forged a relationship with iraq's kurds, yielding 6.2 million barrels of oil imports through a new pipeline.
5:17 am
the iraqi kurds in turn use that money to help finance kurdish peshmerga fighters, who are battling isil forces. >> it provides an economy for the kurds. it provides a benefit to turkey, which has a big oil need, of course. and it's also a way of putting the dampers on kurdish ambitions within turkey itself because the kurds in iraq will not encourage that. >> complicating matters iraq's kurds are fighting isil on the ground with kurdish forces from syria and turkey including fighters who fought the turkish army in the past. still iraq's kurds are said to be disappointed by turkey's recent failure to supply peshmerga fighters. turkey recently joined the fight against isil, and officially stated it's making plans for a buffer zone to aid in the u.s. goal of destroying isil. but in a clear rebuff to the
5:18 am
u.n. administration turkey refuses to actually send troops into syria. it seems that when it comes to combating the threat from isil turkey is determined to play by its own rules. >> well, as i told you at the top of the show, turkey opened up it's territory today to 150 kurdish peshmerga fighters from iraq. they're starting to cross the battle zone in kobane in syria with their help weapons now. however, turkish president erdogan still opposes arming kurdish fighters because of their alliance with its own kurdish insurgents. the pkk have been fighting for an autonomous region inside turkey for 30 years. many say that explains why turkey is hesitant to take the fight to isil inside syria. i want to go to david cohen in following the money. i asked him if this ability to raise money so
5:19 am
effectively through oil smuggling and other means puts isil in a category separate from even terror organizations we've seen to date. >> it is different but not unique. it is different in the sense that it has amassed funds at a vaster clip than any other terrorist organization that we've seen, and setting aside state sponsored terrorist organization is probably the best funded terrorist organization in the world today. but that being said, the mechanisms by which it raises money mechanisms, some of them, are mechanisms that we've seen before. external donor next works, kidnapping and extortion, and the criminal funding that isil had today had it's antecedents with al-qaeda in iraq. they did the same thing during their heyday five, seven years ago, longer. so we've seen what isil is doing
5:20 am
today with other terrorist organizations. the oil smuggling is different. that is not something that we've seen terrorist organizations doing in the past, but getting paid, you know. >> contraband. >> for contraband, that's been around for quite awhile. >> let's talk about taxes. in some places we heard that they're collecting taxes. are these real taxes? >> oh, it's like the mafia collecting protection money. they are forcing people often at gunpoint to pay up at the risk of being shot if they don't. it is not taxes in the sense that it's a legitimate government collects tax. >> are you concerned? we've had had some tell us that
5:21 am
they're more pleased with the governance that isil provides than what they had before. >> what we're see something just the opposite. there have been reports coming out recently proving this point. isil comes in and says, you know, we're like, you know, a new type of terrorist organization. we're not going to just force you to heed your ways. we'll try to deliver services. the reality is quite the opposite. if you look at mosul today, the delivery of water, the delivery of electricity, really any of the basic social services that a government provides to its citizens, isil is failing on every score. and it's only going to get worse. their ability to deliver services is going to be increasingly strained, and i think we're seeing reports coming out that demonstrate that isil cannot possibly deliver on
5:22 am
the promise of some kind of legitimate governance. >> short of outright state sponsorship, which isil is not likely to achieve because it's a threat to so many people around it, the oil is the biggest part of their income at the moment. >> at the moment. >> and they could be selling up to 50,000 barrels of oil a day. we've heard reports that it could go as low as $25. it's all of a discoun discount to $60. that's a $1 million a day. that's real money. we know it's coming from oil fields. it's going to refineries. we know it's not being moved by donkeys. it has to be moves out by a truck. and it strikes me there are things that would make your job easier. bombing the oil fields, bombing refineries. >> there have been airstrikes on some of the mobile refineries that isil has been operating. that has had an impact.
5:23 am
i think other military activities, other airstrikes will impede the--the smuggling network. our role is a comprehensive planned to ultimately defeatist. that's true in the financing of isil as well. so the airstrikes on isil's mobile refineries not just disables, but makes more difficult for those trucks that you say are carrying the oil to get fuel. the trucks need refined product in order for those trucks to run. and the airstrikes are isil mobile refineries has an impact on the ability of those instruct to operate. >> it is your belief, though, if that oil, that oil could not get into turkey it would not be sold on the black max right aways. >> well, this is not just a turkey
5:24 am
problem. the issue is that there have been long-standing smuggling practices, smuggling other commodities other than oil. some of them go into the kurdish region in iraq. we also have information that isil is selling some of its oil to the syrian government, the assad government. >> which now becomes hard to get your head around. >> it is a clear example of the depravity of the assad regime that as they are purportedly fighting against isil, they are at the same time funding isil by flyin buying oil that isil has stolen from fields in syria. it is very hard to get your head around, but our information is that that's one way.
5:25 am
>> as a financial detective, help me understand where at some point oil is not of use as a barrel of oil. it is of use generally of a refined product, but at some point somebody has to buy. you're hoping that you can keep onlooking and peeling away layers of the onion until you find someone who has a bank account, a link to the financial system and that's your entry point. >> if you think about the transaction chain, there is someone taking the oil out of the ground who is selling it to someone, who is smuggling somewhere. ultimately there is someone purchasing that oil to refine it or sell it on who has some legitimate business. >> right. >> who has a bank account. whose trucks may be insured. whose business may be licensed. someone who has a footprint in the formal economy. those are people we can influence through the use of our
5:26 am
sanctions tools, and frankly through our diplomacy through the countries that are involved here because whether it's turk turkey, the kurdish region in iraq, they have strongly committed to cutting off the smuggling of isil oil to whatever extent it exists in our territory. >> how do you deal with the inherent contradictions? the kurds were doing things that america didn't support, and they're doing things that turkey didn't like. and now they're on the same side that it's quite possible that they're selling their oil. we heard about tankers going around the world looking for buyers for oil. clearly you can't have that same passion about not letting that happen as you can about not letting isil sell oil to further it's aims. these are inherent contradictions in policy. >> you made the point earlier that isil has brought together the world community in a way that is unique.
5:27 am
whether it's the kurdish region in iraq, the golf states. there is a very broad consensus, and a very broad coalition of nations that are all seized of the importance of fighting against isil. degrading and ultimately defeating this terrorist organization. it's a complicated world out there. lots of cross-cutting issues. on the importance of defeating isil there is a very strong thread of common purpose. >> well, up next qatar is one of the world's richest countries, and it's been fighting accusation that it used its vast energy wealth to bankroll militants across the middle east. i'll follow the money trail when we come back. stay with us. >> america votes 2014 midterms it's all come down to this... >> you are going to determine whether i'm going to be the next senator from iowa >> the candidates last chance
5:28 am
to convince voters they're the one... they will stop at nothing to get your vote >> david young, how are you? >> run for congress >> it's important to be out here talking to voters >> director aj schnack's unprecedented series concludes >> it's certainly something that doesn't exist in politics on television >> america votes 2014 midterms only on al jazeera america
5:29 am
>> well, an important meeting took place.
5:30 am
sitting down with british prime minister david cameron. he questioned qatar's financing of isil. al jazeera america's parent company is based in qatar and is funded in part of qatar's government. >> at first glance qatar hardly seems the kind of place that would be a big player in the region. it's one of the tiniest countries in the middle east, population 2 million, but only a quarter of them are actual citizens. but qatar exports more than $100 billion of oil and gas every year. when measured in terms of gdp that kind of wealth translates into $85,000 a person.
5:31 am
60% higher than in the united states. all that money gives this small country a disproportionate presence on the global stage and analysts say that qatar actively maintains good relationships with opposing sides in the region's myriad conflicts. >> the goal here has been for qatar to use it's vast wealth to buy influence around the region and the qataris have sought to place themselves in a broader populist position in the region. >> unlike its neighbors, especially saudi arabia, qatar was and continues to be a major supporter of the arab spring up risings that have swept dictators in the region from power. qatar dolls out cash to governments, political factions and armed insurgents.
5:32 am
it has played the role of peacemaker as well as arms supplier making it hard to define qatar's ultimate goals. qatar hosts the largest u.s. air base in the middle east. along with the forward headquarters of the u.s. central command responsible for military operations in afghanistan. at the same time qatar hosts exiled leaders of the afghan taliban. in syria qatar aims to unseat the regime of bashar al-assad. that's a goal that the united states endorses. but qatar's methods have drawn intense global criticism. that's because it's directed at support not just to groups opposed to the political regime, but critics say to arm islamic extremists. >> it is clearly that qatar has supported more of the hard line groups. >> the u.s. treasury has accused qatar had a hosting terrorist
5:33 am
financ financiers. two private individuals it accused of funneling money to al-qaeda in syria. while the treasury did not say that the two ever acted on behalf of the qatari government, it criticized qatar's, quote, permissive terrorist financing environment." it does work with other nations includes the united states, britain, germany, and france along with six countries in the region to provide support to syria's armed opposition. there are certainly those who are quick to point out that qatar supports all kinds of groups, and oftentimes those who are critical of the qatari possessions have a competing foreign policy agenda. >> indeed, qatar's policies have clashed with those of it's much larger neighbors saudi arabia. the biggest dispute between the two is qatar's support of the muslim brotherhood in egypt.
5:34 am
in 2013 qatar gave mohamed morsi's government $8 billion in aid before he was forcebly removed from offense. the saudis on the other hand have thrown their support behind egypt's military, which removed morsi and outlawed his muslim brotherhood party. and for years qatar a modern state, focused on technology, education, and media, has hosted a fire brand egyptian cleric. a vocal opponent of egypt's current regime, and a strong supporter of islamic movement across the region, including the muslim brotherhood. qatar plays host to the leadership of hamas , a faction ideal istically aligned with hamas. qatar has pledged $400 million in reconstruction aid to gaza,
5:35 am
which is controlled by hamas. >> so we have this real problem with qatar to some extent trying to have it both ways. yes, being modern. yes, greater openness, but at the same time trying to be home to the taliban, hamas, and that does give out mixed messages. qatar rightly want to be embraced by the international community, and it deserves that embrace, but it has to shed that baggage of trying to bang roll some of the extremist voices out there. >> and qatar may be arriving at a way of shedding some of that baggage by reverting to some to its traditional role, that of intermediator. >> i express appreciation to the government of qatar in its role in bowe release. >> leading to the release of
5:36 am
army sergeant bo boberg dal. and negotiated the release of another journalist. still in the eyes of some critics, the benefit of qatar as mediator is outweighed by the dangers of qatar as a financier of militant groups. the united states' relationship with qatar is complicated to say the least. qatar and other country in the ridge have not cracked down enough on citizens who have september money to other militant groups in the region, including the al nusra front, al-qaeda's affiliate in syria. in 2012 the state department designated a terrorist group. listen to what david cohen told me. >> it is important to draw the distinction between terrorist organizations whether it's
5:37 am
al nusra front, isil, who are fighting the assad reqatar hosts scream and the moderates in opposition. we've been very clear. >> that's what i'm getting at. how do you make that distinction? people have accused america of getting that wrong and putting weapons in the hands or financing groups that have ended up biting us in the end. how certain can you be with this fluidity and the shifting of alliances? >> i don't think there is any doubt that isil is a terrorist organization. i think the world has seen what they are capable of, and frankly, what they do on a day in, day out basis. al nusra front has declared itself to be the al quite affiliate in syria and alqaid alqaida, hazard endorsed that. there's no question that these are terrorist organizations. the moderates here in opposition are very careful in identifying who it is that we're working with, and is it easy? no. that's one of the reasons why it
5:38 am
has taken time because we're being careful about who we work with in the moderate syrian opposition. but there is a difference between the--those in syria who are fighting against the assad regime, and who represents some prospect of a better life for syria versus the emand al nusra's of the world who are fundamentally terrorists. >> does it frustrate you that the pressure that you would like to be able to put on some of these states is stymied by the fact that the united states sort of had to lean on qatar for the release of james foley and that included al nusra and the united states uses the forwarding operating base in qatar, and uses these countries for other things. it complicates the relationship. it would be easier if it wasn't complicated, if the united states did not need something from them in exchange for their help. >> the countries in the gulf,
5:39 am
qatar, saudi arabia, can you kuwait, all these country, we have very good relationships with. they're steadfast partners in the anti-isil coalition. it doesn't complicate things. to the contrary, we have deep and strong relationships with these countries, and we work with them on a whole host of important issues. >> do you feel that their back is in it, though? when you look at the kuwaits, the qataris, turkeys and saudi arabia, do you feel those four countries have their back in the effort? >> each one of those countries are part of the anti-isil coalition. we have in a variety of different ways we're working with them. you know, i think in any relationship with any country there are strengths and there are areas where we want to strengthen the relationship. i don't regard any of those countries being anything less than full partners in this effort. >> coming up, experts say
5:40 am
saudi arabian citizens have funded isil in the past. we'll tell what you they say about that if "p" back in two >> on techknow... >> these are some of the amazing spider goats >> small creatures, big impact >> how strong is it? >> almost as strong as steel >> inspiring discoveries changing lives >> this could go in a human body... >> right >> this is for an achilles tendon >> techknow every saturday go where science meets humanity >> this is some of the best driving i've ever done, even though i can't see techknow >> we're here in the vortex >> only on al jazeera america
5:41 am
5:42 am
>> in all the violence sweeping the middle east right now one of the weapons is money. in addition to qatar, saudi arabia has been accused of funding terrorist groups. saudi arabia and it's conservative ruling family have exerted considerable influence in the volatile region of the world that has seen both the promise of revolution and the
5:43 am
tragedy of repression, and it's bringing the war on terror right to the saudi's door step. >> the saudis, many who form a sunni islam, consider themselves to be guardians of islam's holiest places. to that end many saudi clerics have encouraged citizens to support sunni islamic militants throughout the middle east. the clerics do that with the unofficial consent of the saudi government. the saudis may, in fact, may have gotten themselves in trouble. >> the extreme clerics inside the country, they have not been reined in, so they run freely in the hole places, but they also have control of the education system and control of the public place and have a global presence through many of the embassies. >> that global presence has kept the money flowing. the u.s. department of treasury
5:44 am
said this past march that sympathetic private saudi donors have been channing money through islamic terrorist organizations throughout the middle east and beyond. in afghanistan private saudi money has gone to the violent al-qaeda link network. in pakistan saudis have financed the islamic terrorist group responsible for the deadly vault in mumbai back in 2008, which killed almost 200 people. that group stated goal is the establishment of an islamic state in cashmere. and in neighboring yemen, saudi citizens are funding the sunni extremist groups known as al-qaeda in the arabian peninsula. that group is notable for many high-profile-terrorist attacks. including the attempt to blow up a northwest airlines flight in the united states on decembe december 25, 2009. >> the saudi record on counterterrorism has been mixed.
5:45 am
there has been significant ideological support coming out of saudi arabia for various terrorist groups. >> and some critics charge that in syria the saudi royal family purposely ignored news about its own citizens joining and funding pro-islamic forces battling the brutal regime bashar al-assad. one of those groups funded by the saudis was al nusra, the syrian branch of al-qaeda. using social media one al-qaeda affiliated saudi cleric based in syria even posted a campaign called "wage jihad with your money." donors interested in supporting anti-assad sunni militants could earn silver status by donating $175 for 50 sniper bullets. $350 buys eight more rather rounds and gold status.
5:46 am
officially the kingdom of saudi arabia said, quote, government officials and religious scholars have repeatedly condemned terrorist acts and the mindset that supports terrorism, end quote, but many experts agree that private saudi money was used to fund the now notorious islamic state of iraq and the levant, or isil. >> there is support to some extent for isil among saudi citizens, it's very likely that saudi citizens have funded isil in the past, and it's probably that they'll continue to try to send money. >> earlier this year isil made light-fast gains in iraq. iraq borders saudi arabia bringing the threat of a brutal armed islamic state that respects no national boundaries home to the saudis.
5:47 am
and the threat from hostile militants may be bringing back dark memories from the kingdom. back in 2013 al-qaeda launched a series of bra tall attacks inside saudi arabia, killing scores of people. the saudis responded by cracking down internally on hundreds of militants successfully snuffing out al-qaeda's domestic terror campaign. but the support for finances continue, and may be coming back to haunt the saudis. in may they uncovered a plot to kill government officials and attack national and foreign interests in the country. 62 suspects were arrested. almost all were saudi nationals, and according to the saudi state news agency some had been encouraged to carry out the assassinations by saudi isil members in syria. in response the saudi government
5:48 am
began a campaign to stop it's own citizens from backing islamic terrorist organizations working abroad. especially those in syria. criticizing support for many groups, including isil. >> now it's 100% illegal in saudi arabia to accepted money to isil, and to encourage ideological support for isil, and also it's illegal to go abroad to fight with isil. >> in airstrikes led by the united states, saudi jets struck isil targets within syria, significantly on board one of those jets was a member of the royal family. it may be the clearest message yet to its own citizens that the saudis are serious about confronting the threat of islamic terrorism.
5:49 am
well, the saudis have made progress in stemming the flow of might money intended with terrorist organizations, but it's worth noting that the public is concerned for public support for isil and alqaida. a report card on the war against isil on the ground, in the air and in the wallet. we're back in two minutes. >> the death toll could be much higher than anyone known. >> posing as a buyer... >> ...people ready then... >> mr. president >> who should answer for those people
5:50 am
5:51 am
>> now let's recap some of what we talked about tonight and what we know about the fight against isil. the u.s. is working hard to cut off the militant's group access to money. the u.s. and it's allies also continue to launch airstrikes on isil in both iraq and syria. and 150 iraqi kurdish fighters known as peshmerga are said to put boots on the ground in syria to defend kobane. kobane is the syrian city near the turkish border that is under siege from isil, but the question remains whether all of this is enough to make a difference in stopping isil's advances. and to answer that i'm turning to jim walsh, a friend of the show and research associate at the massachusetts institute of technology, security studies program.
5:52 am
he joins me from water town, massachusetts. a lot of attention on kobane. a town that isil advanced in to. the kurdish militia there managed to tend them off. now the turks let the kurds go through from iraq. now baghdad is under increasing threat from isil. where do we stand with this? >> we've always been focused on kobane because it looked like isil was going to take that mountain. as the turkish tanks stood across the border and watched, not lifting a finger to do anything about it, the u.s. air power has matters in this case, but it is one city in syria on the turkish border. if there was one city that you would think you would an able to protect, it would be that one. give it's proximity to turkey. on the wider war we have to worry about iraq. isil is still in iraq. there is fierce fighting in
5:53 am
anbar and other provinces. will the army fight hard? we hope so. there are good signs. but that's not a done deal. and separately is if we get them out of iraq, then what do you do about syria. two big different questions. >> similarities between iraq and syria as we have talked today, as to what countries may or may not be giving and this u.s. effort to cut financial support for isil. the one key thing about syria and iraq is that they're leadership have a couples. they're government have a couples. >> i think that's such an important point that people really miss. this is the military thing. we'll solve it with troops or bombs, or it's this sort of thing. we'll solve it with the ideology. lots of this is about governance.
5:54 am
if the governance cannot deliver to its people over the government, then you're creating spaces where it can grow. >> you heard my conversation with david cohen. you know david. you and him have talked about his efforts in iran. look, we don't know how iran is going to end up working out. but if it did work out that iran respects its agreements and peace comes to that part of the world, it will have been a very different situation than what the u.s. treasury is trying to accomplish with isil. iran, for whatever you think of it is a member of the world community, banks through the world banking systems. needs dollars to sell its oil through market prices. isil does not do any of that. >> yes, that's really important. the islamic state may call itself the islamic state, but they're not a state. they're a non-state actor. most of the money they make in gray and black areas.
5:55 am
they took it through conquests like that oil well, or they engaged in kidnapping or extortion, or have people do necessary and other states who quietly transfer money. that's not the same thing as going to a bank and trying to cash a check. i think it's a much more difficult challenge. even under the best of circumstances and sanctions are--they can be useful. they can be part of the toolbox. but even under the best of circumstances they take time, and it's difficult. even more difficult in a case like this. now isil is really a non-state actor, so we're dealing with a different animal than we're dealing with iran, north korea state that is a former state. >> michael: they are more awful than any none state terrorist group. >> there is no managic wand here.
5:56 am
we have to do all the things we can do. maybe it all adds up but sanctions take a lot of time. longer amount of time than we would be willing to qua to deal with this. but we have to keep our expectations modest. this is an organization, i'm speculating here, where money, it's terrible that they have as much as they do, but if they didn't have a lot they would still get by because they are able to rally and recruit people. they're probably not a money hungry organization, but again sure we should try everything as long as we realize some of these things have unintended consequences. >> yes, good to talk to you as always. thank you for being with us. jim walsh from the securities studies programs. coming up, my thoughts why the most terror
5:57 am
terrible cannot be found on the battle field. >> i'm joie chen, i'm the host of america tonight, we're revolutionary because we're going back to doing best of storytelling. we have an ouportunity to really reach out and really talk to voices that we haven't heard before... i think al jazeera america is a watershed moment for american journalism >> we talked to disrupters all the time on this show.
5:58 am
they're agents of change normally associated with the tech boom. david cohen is not a silicon valley superstar, but make no mistake there is into better description of do we know's job than disrupter. specifically his ability to disrupt the funding of america's enemies. it relies on getting word around the world and away from the saber rattling of airstrikes and outright war. isil mass made money doing great nasty business. much of the rest comes from selling girls in sex slavery. the sell of religious relics, and protection money
5:59 am
paid akin to a mafia shake down. you don't move millions around without access to some legitimate money. to be clear it's not a perfect strategy. it's eanly not without its skeptics. a law review article argued that the focus on stopping terrorism by cutting off the funding stream has not been nearly as effective as advertised. it concluded that we remain far from a world that is safe from terrorists. while isil fighters may not lose sleep over the thought of a treasury department official in a jacket or tie, you know who does, those hoping to use legitimate financial institutions to support america's enemies. i'm ali velshi in washington. thank you for joining us.
6:00 am
. >> announcer: this is al jazeera. welcome to the program, you're watching the al jazeera newshour. this is some of what we'll be studying in detail in the next 60 minutes. sweden the first european power to recognise the state of palestine. security tight across jerusalem as israeli men kill a suspected right wing israeli rabbi more homes destroyed in egypt
left
right